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DAY 23 (1000 WORDS, 3rd attempt)

Kalvonix and I have been making music together since way back when I started rapping. Back in high school when I was first starting out I was just making my own music by myself, but when I heard of a school group about rapping I was interested to see what it was about. To be honest, as a young kid with a wild imagination I imagined a full recording studio with a recording booth and all the equipment needed, but that wasn’t the case. I’m not complaining, I just mention that because it’s funny how kids’ imaginations are. The group was Access Denied, and it was made up of a few different people, mainly Calvin, aka Kalvonix, and his cousins Ohwell and Nizzl. In those days he was called “the rapper of the school” since he loved showing everyone his passion for rapping. I guess at some point he and Mr. Begg, the school English teacher, had come to an agreement to work on a school rap group, and so Access Denied was born. I joined later, but we quickly made a few mixtapes together. We usually recorded right in the classroom, after school hours so no one would be there, and our music was educational and touched on lots of different subjects, without getting too serious about them, but just getting the main message across. Those were fun times for sure, and we even did a show for the Olympics here in Vancouver, and also ended up on the newspaper front cover. “Rapping for a reason” was the title of the newspaper story. They also did an interview with us which was on TV. Of course, all of this wasn’t because we were incredible rappers, it was mostly because it was a school project and we were rapping about positive things. I didn’t mind it at all because I was writing and rapping, which is what I loved doing, but outside of Access Denied I was always working on my own music as well, which wasn’t always the most positive, but it was real to me, since I wasn’t living through the most positive times in my life either. Kalvonix was also doing music on his own, of course, and after he graduated from high school a year before me, we kept meeting up at his house to record song remixes here and there. We eventually had an idea, to release a mixtape together, since we were starting to make more and more songs together. We titled this mixtape “The Come Up.” Back then we weren’t the most professional, we were young and we were really making music kind of in a rush, to be honest. We were having fun though, so we just wanted to move on to the next track and complete it. I spent a lot of nights at Calvin’s house, rapping all through the night up in his room. The good thing is his house was pretty big so I think his parents couldn’t really hear us rapping the night away. Since we were making so much music, we eventually made the Come Up 2, and at some point we decided to turn in into a recurring thing. By the time we recorded The Come Up 3, we had decided that we were getting better and we had to get our music out to more people. That’s when we decided to go around his neighborhood knocking door to door selling CDs of The Come Up 3. I definitely don’t regret it, but the music isn’t really as good as we thought it was in the moment. Over the years we recorded the Come Up 4, 5 and 6, before lots of things in my life changed and I ended up moving away to Honduras, my home country, and eventually meeting my wife Maria, then waiting three years for her residence papers to be approved, and eventually returning here to Canada in February 2020, right before the whole COVID pandemic really started getting crazy. During all of those years we didn’t really make more music together, and maybe we didn’t even think about it. Calvin had success with his own music, always being super active with it and showcasing it to the world, and in my case, I was way into living a spiritual life, to the point that I had decided not to pursue music anymore because I didn’t want fame, because of the possibility of it corrupting me and the beautiful family I had formed with Maria. I remember actually telling Calvin I was quitting music, and he was questioning whether I was sure of my decision. In that moment I was one hundred percent sure. I never wanted fame, but I have always wanted to share my music with people, and to share inspirational messages through it. Fast forward some more time, spirituality-wise my thoughts changed in a way, and I basically decided to start pursuing music as a career again as I grew increasingly frustrated with 9-to-5 life, which I believe is corrupt, soulless and exploitative. I told Calvin I was back into music, so we put together The Come Up 8 and 9, mostly from a few of the last songs we had recorded together, as well as some songs from his albums that I was featured on. As I started getting serious with music again, and Calvin was getting more professional than ever and constantly releasing music on streaming platforms, we decided to make The Come Up 10 an album, with no remixes, just original tracks we could post for streaming. Since life is a lot busier now for both of us, it took us about to years to finally complete this album, but I’m really proud of it, and it’s really symbolic in a way. We’ve come a long way from our early days recording the first Come Up. Our flows have improved a lot, our writing is more impactful and our sound is overall more professional. It’s also been maybe a little over ten years since we started, so the number 10 is kind of symbolic in a way as well. We released The Come Up 10 this year on August 12th, a few days before his Calvin’s birthday. Kalvonix has always been a big inspiration for me, not only because we share the same passion for music and rhyming, but also because he was born with cerebral palsy and faced a lot of struggles growing up, yet he never let that get in the way of his passion and his dream, and nowadays he’s found a decent amount of success, and I’m super happy for him. I’ve always been all over the place, lacking the dedication to make my music thing happen in the way he has, but life is a learning experience, and I can say that now I’m more focused than I’ve ever been, so I’m excited about what the future holds. I’m constantly working on new beats and songs, and Kalvonix and I don’t plan on stopping our work together either, so The Come Up 11 is already in the works. For now though, give The Come Up 10 a listen, I’ve embedded the Spotify link below so you can listen right on here if interested. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to listen, since we put a lot of effort into this album.

much love

~ rebel eye

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DAY 13 (1000 WORDS, 3rd attempt)

Day 13 of a thousand words. I figured I would write about one of my favorite songs of mine, It Is What It Is. This is a song I wrote and recorded way back in 2012. It was released on my February 2012 mixtape Running Rebel. To this day, I consider this mixtape to be my masterpiece. I was trying to make a project with a unique sound, but more specifically, with the jazzy, old-school type of sound that I love so much, the sound that inspired me to get into hip-hop in the first place. This track was the most popular off the tape. In my lyrics I reminisce on old times, which even though were filled with problems, still represent the good old days for me. In 2012 I was only 18 years old, but I really felt like I had grown up and matured. I know what you might think, that at that age there’s not much that I could possibly be looking back at. That’s not the case for me though, since the craziest times of my life actually started when I was about twelve or thirteen, and although I had a lot of fun, I also got into a lot of problems. Thankfully, these problems didn’t escalate as much as they could have. I feel like I’ve always been blessed with good common sense, even when I was acting up I was never completely like a lot of my friends. I always knew there was something deeper to life, and I guess I was trying to find exactly that in the countless experiences I was having, but never finding anything. By the age of 18 I had realized that this life was not what I wanted any longer, so I wrote this song, It Is What It Is. The last part of the hook says “But we all gotta grow, yo, it is what it is,” and I feel like that sums up my mindset at the time, I was done with my old type of life and was sad to let it go, as I did have a lot of fun, but I realized that it was time to move on, to grow into a new phase in my life. There’s a lot of details in the song, about old times, old moments I lived through with close friends, some of which are no longer here with us. Overall, it’s just such a nostalgic song for me, and the amazing chill beat by Dela definitely went along with my lyrics to emphasize the nostalgic aspect of the track. I also like how he incorporated a sample into the beginning of the beat, from one of my favorite rap songs “Moment of Truth” by Gang Starr, where Guru raps “Sometimes you gotta dig deep, when problems come near, don’t fear, things get severe for everybody everywhere.” At the time I felt like I was really thinking deeply, I was finally making a decision about my life and the direction I wanted to take it. Unfortunately, it did take me a few more years to completely let go of my troubled past, so throughout 2013 to 2014 I was back into making gangsta rap songs with RRG. It took me a few years to completely free myself of who I used to be and the toxic lifestyle I was living for so long, and over that time I also quit smoking cigarettes completely, quit drinking for the most part, and quit doing all the drugs I was doing. By 2017 I released my Musical Alchemy mixtape, where I incorporated a lot of what I had learned into my lyrics, from the 7 Hermetic Principles to the Four Noble Truths, from Bible verses to quotes by great philosophers. I wanted to creative something philosophically inspiring, but I feel like I ended up being a bit all over the place on that album. I hope to be able to make an album as good as my 2012 Running Rebel album some day, but I just don’t know if I’m even the same person these days. Even if I never do though, I’m glad to have created a classic, and even though my album barely got more than a thousand downloads, since I’m still basically unknown, I’m glad to have made something I can enjoy, and which documents my growth in life. Unfortunately, now that I’ve started posting my music on streaming services, I haven’t been able to post any of the songs from my Running Rebel mixtape, since the beats I used were just picked from different websites and YouTube videos, in order to match the sound I was trying to achieve. To anyone who might be reading this blog and who is already familiar with my music, I truly appreciate you! And if you’re reading my blog and are not familiar with my music then give this track a listen, I know you will enjoy it. To be honest, I think a lot of what has prevented me from “making it” as a musician has been my own fault, I’ve never been great at promoting myself, it’s never been something I enjoy doing. It feels like I’m trying to show off or something, so I’ve always preferred to have people find my music organically rather than sharing it to everyone. However, I’m now at the point where I realize that this just doesn’t work like that. As a creative person it’s imperative to be able to market oneself. You might be super dope at what you do, but if no one knows it then it isn’t gonna do much for you, so let the world know! There’s way too much wack music about nothing out there these days, so I shouldn’t feel any shame for promoting my own music when I know that it’s dope, and that people would appreciate it if only more people got to hear it. I appreciate everyone reading, as always, and I’ll leave a link to my song, It Is What It Is, in case you’re interested in listening.

much love

~ rebel eye